SHOREHAM-born swimmer Gemma Spofforth is determined to land her first Olympic medal when she competes in the 100m backstroke event in London.
The 24-year-old finished fourth in Beijing four years ago, missing out on a bronze medal by just four hundredths of a second, but she holds the world record for the distance, set in 2009 when she won the world title in 58.12sec.
She competes in the heats at the London Aquatic Centre on Sunday, which run from 10am, with the semi-finals the same day at 8.44pm. The final is then on Monday at 7.49pm.
Spofforth said: “I have received some lovely good luck messages from supporters across Sussex and these have given me a real boost this week.
“With the first round of 100m backstroke heats on Sunday I’m focused on my performance and making sure I feel familiar with the competition pool.
“I will compete against some strong swimmers during the Games but I’m well prepared and ready to secure a spot in the finals. I feel in top shape for the heats and, with the home crowd behind me, I’m determined to medal.
“Competing in London is going to be an amazing experience and I wish all of my team-mates the best of luck.”
Depending on her times, Spofforth could also swim in the medley relay.
Eventer Tina Cook is another local medal hopeful as she is hoping to add to her two bronze medals from Beijing.
The 41-year-old from Findon won two bronze medals in 2008 in the team and individual events. She is again riding on her horse, Miners Frolic, and said: “We’re not going just to be seen, we’ll be putting in our best shot, but it’s the most open Olympics for a long time.”
The eventing competition runs at Greenwich Park from Saturday to Tuesday, when the finals are held.